source: UNIFIL

Meeting among Head of Mission and UNIFIL force Commander with Lebanon prime minister at Mission Headquarters in Naqoura, south of Lebanon.

An encouragement to strengthen security cooperation

L’Head of Mission and Force Commander di UNIFIL, Division General Stefano Del Col, received in recent days, at the Mission Command in Naqoura, in southern Lebanon, a high-ranking political delegation led by Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab.

With synergy and collaboration, the delegation, composed of about ten members, including Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Zeina Aakar and the Commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) Gen. Joseph Aoun, was welcomed by Gen. Del Col, who illustrated the operations conducted by the peacekeepers in South Lebanon, in an Area of Responsibility between the Litani River in the north and the Blue Line in the south.

During the meeting, the Head of Mission thanked the Lebanese Government for its continued commitment and cooperation in the implementation of the UNIFIL mandate enshrined in Resolution 1701 of 2006. "Professionalism, synergy and coordination mechanisms between the parties are the basis for success in keeping South Lebanon stable for 14 years", General Del Col went on to say “After this long period of stability, unprecedented for the Region, we must now focus our efforts on fulfilling our mandate effectively and without obstacles in order to consolidate the results achieved and ensure lasting peace in the future".

The Head of Mission added that today's visit "strongly encourages" both UNIFIL peacekeepers and LAFs to further strengthen security cooperation. Gen. Del Col also commended the Prime Minister's leadership in responding to the crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For his part, Prime Minister Diab praised the role of UNIFIL, together with the LAFs, in maintaining the cessation of hostilities, allowing a calm and stable situation in southern Lebanon since 2006. He also expressed his full support for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which is at the heart of UNIFIL's entire mandate and to which the parties have expressed their utmost commitment.

The Head of Government then went on to say: "Your presence here was not only born out of international will, but also out of Lebanese desire and is therefore accepted by the inhabitants of the south of the country". "Lebanon undertakes to respect Resolution 1701, the role of the United Nations forces, by supporting the renewal of the mandate and the number of personnel without any changes".

Prime Minister Diab also reiterated the importance of continued coordination and close cooperation between UNIFIL and LAF, thus facilitating the mission itself and promoting the confidence of the people of the South in the work of the Blue Helmets. "Lebanon also expresses its deep gratitude to the contributing countries, as with their contribution they have shown the utmost respect for the values of peace enshrined in the United Nations Charter", the Prime Minister concluded.

This is the first visit of Prime Minister Diab to UNIFIL Headquarters since he took office last January and follows the visit of former Prime Minister Hariri to South Lebanon in 2017.